I know that I always seem to be complaining about the trials of parenting. That is certainly not my intention. On the contrary I find being a parent the-absolutely-without-a-doubt-most- amazing and rewarding thing that I have ever done in my life.
But that is the thing isn’t it? How can you put those wonderful feelings into words without sounding like a Hallmark card? It is all a bit sappy and nobody really wants to hear it anyway except for the grandparents and pregnant women.
Most parents struggle to find the time to marvel over their own per-preschoolers finger paintings let alone the amazing developments of yours. Everyone thinks that their own child is advanced and special and of course everyone is right!
It is hard to know what you are in for when you discover that you are having a baby. So many thoughts and emotions fly through your head and no matter what people say you can’t be ready for it.
You can’t prepare as you will not have the perspective until you see that little child in your arms and then it will all wash over you like a wave. A tsunami of responsibility.
Some would say that parenting is so rewarding primarily because it is such a challenge and that achievement is proportionate to effort.
Once you have decided that you are having your baby and have given birth and taken it home then you really can’t give in and go back to the way things were before. You just have to do the best you can without giving up and that can be extremely confronting.
And this is the extreme responsibility you feel towards this little bundle. They know nothing and it is your job to equip them with everything they will need to survive in the world without you.
This is a big job and there are so many new tasks to perform and the health and well being of a little person is entirely dependent upon your ability to master these new skills. Talk about pressure.
I suppose it is much easier to describe those feelings than it is to try to put words to the feeling you get watching your child sleep or seeing the spark of humor or recognition in their eyes or watching them giggle uncontrollably. There are so many of these moments and they are so indescribably beautiful.
Parenting can also make you want to correct the mistakes that you had made in your past to protect your children but then you realize that if you stop the mistakes then you stop the lessons and that sometimes you just have to watch them fall – as painful as that may be.
Not everyone loves their kids. Some people actually hate their kids and treat them accordingly. Some people resent them for taking away their lifestyle. Some are unwanted accidents. Some people have children to try to save their marriage but it only ever puts on more pressure.
That’s the thing about kids. They put an amazing amount of pressure on you in every way. Sometimes it feels like being on call twenty four seven in a boot camp of menial tasks with someone shouting in your ear at the same time. If you didn’t love them so damn much then you would be tempted to throw them out of the nearest window.
You get used to that constant barrage after a while and settle into an uneasy routine and then when you suddenly have a day away from the kids everything feels extremely empty and weird.
Some parents mistake this feeling for missing their kids but I think that it is more like taking off a tight hat. You can still feel the pressure long after it is actually off your head.
But the most important aspect of all this is that most of us parents actually love to do this. Sounds crazy right? I know that I would gladly take every cough, sore throat and vomit for my daughter if I could and I know that my wife feels the same.
Most of us parents would do anything for our children without expecting anything in return and that unselfishness is what I believe to be one of the biggest mental shifts that occur when you go from carefree adult to overloaded parent.
I am so thankful to say that so far, the joys of parenting far out way the disadvantages and I sincerely hope that the same is true for you.